Exciting start to the new Academic Year!

So it is the start of another new Academic Year, after several years as a senior academic manager, I still feel butterflies in my stomach as September dawns and this year is no different! I am still humbled by how each year we welcome the next generation into our University family and we get the opportunity to play a part in their lives and careers. This September was no different, of course we were ultra-busy in preparing for the International Commencement Ceremony, the launch of the Global Talent Programme, and refreshing our student mobility and partnership plans. But more on these later…..


A quiet summer?

Policy wise, the summer period is typically a quiet one, but of course, as August came to a close, it seems as though we all drew a deep breath and reflected on the pivotal changes that have happened over the past year, and what opportunities lie ahead for the future.  Whilst the beginning of the summer seemed to have a bleak outlook lingering in the air, I thought August summoned a more optimistic and confident approach to the future.  Looking further afield, plenty of significant changes are starting to manifest themselves, such as Germany moving towards being a top study abroad destination and China gaining prominence globally, and the UK simply must be a part of these forward–looking changes.

Earlier in August, we heard former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urge universities to create stronger bonds with our wider community, promoting universities as vital to empowering youth and strengthening social cohesion.  We also heard from current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who encouraged us to see the world as a community, emphasising education as a powerful tool for changing the world and breaking barriers.  I couldn’t agree more.  As we see policies changing drastically – sometimes undermining the contribution our students make to the community – we know that developing a global mindset, heartset, and skillset in our students will give them the opportunity to be a part of shaping these changes in the future.

As this academic year commences, I – along with many others I’m sure – can’t help but feel as though this year will be an incredibly important year for all of us in HE. We are yet to fully understand the full implications of how the UK’s negotiations with the EU will unfold, and with this still taking form, together as a sector we need to be active in shaping and voicing our interests. Adding to that globally changing landscape is the shaping of our own reforms here in the UK with the Higher Education and Research Bill next going through the Committee Stage in the House of Commons. So lots to follow on this in the coming weeks and months….

Welcome to our new International Students!

I was honoured to again be Master of Ceremonies for Bournemouth University’s International Commencement Ceremony (ICC) on the evening of 23rd September at the Bournemouth International Centre. I was perhaps a little worried that our second event wouldn’t live up to the first ever ICC last year – I shouldn’t have – the energy, hopes and ambitions of the 500 or so international students who joined on Friday night was palpable and it was extremely exciting to be with them as they start their journey at BU. Check out coverage of the event here or the storify here!

iccWe think that we are possibly still the only University in the UK that puts on an event of this scale and scope to welcome our international students, I’d love to hear from other Universities if you also do something similar though! We in the HE sector are, perhaps more than most, acutely aware of the impact of Brexit on the messages we send out to current, and potential, international students. Bournemouth as a town is proud to be home to so many students, and are keen to have our students contribute in different ways to the community. The ICC was of course not a response to Brexit – we had our first one before we even knew about it, but I think the ICC is now more important than ever in showing to our international students that UK HE values global talent, irrespective of the passport the individual holds!

Farewells too….

Whilst we welcomed all our new students to BU this September, we also bid farewell to 60 football coaches from China on the 16th of September. This was a summer long coaching programme at BU and a really important partnership. You can get an overview of the programme from the press release at the start of the programme here and again coverage from the graduation ceremony here.

Global BU Priorities for the Year Ahead

Partnerships like the Chinese Football Coaching Programme are crucial for developing global staff and students. Consequently, our partnerships and student mobility plans, recently refreshed, are two key anchors of our global engagement ambitions.

As important as strategic partnerships and student mobility is, I have always said that Global BU is not about just recruitment or partnerships or mobility – it is about all of these things, and more! You can find out more about the full range of what is happening across Global BU and its upcoming priorities in the all staff email that went to the University earlier this week or you can keep abreast via our Global BU pages here!

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